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Prison Health News Issue 5 Spring 2005

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prison health news

-better health care while you are in and when you get outIssue 5, Spring 2005

Who We Are...
We are on the outside, but we
were inside before. We’ve been
where you are now and know
what it’s like...and survived it. We
are ex-offenders talking about
health issues and trying to bring
about a positive change for all
people who are in prison now or
ever have been in the past. This
newsletter is about all of us.
We will be talking about health
issues. For example, what is good
nutrition? Where can you get
services and information on the
outside? We want to take your
health questions seriously and
break down complicated health
information so that it is understandable.
We’re also here to help you
learn how to get better health
care within your facility and how
to get answers to your health
questions. Don’t get frustrated.
Be persistent. In prison, it’s often
hard to get what you want, but
with health information, it
doesn’t have to be impossible.
Join us in our fight for our right
to health care and health
information.
Read on...
From,
John, Waheedah, Patricia, Brian,
Jaci, & Sam

Artwork, by Paul Guera,

Books Through Bars, Contexts Collection

In
this Issue:
Who We Are......................................1
Write An Article!...............................2
Mom, What’s Wrong?.......................2
The Way To A Happy New Year.......2
Sleep , It Is Your Health....................3
Hepatitis C Educational Programs
in Washington State Prisons........4-5
Outside Looking In.......................6-7
Information Resources
for People in Prison.........................7
Advocacy and Support
Resources for People in Prison.......8
Subscribe!.........................................8
page 1

write an article! Mom, What’s
We have gotten lots of requests
for articles already, and we know
that everyone who reads this
newsletter will have questions or
his or her own story to tell.
If you have advice for other
prisoners dealing with health
issues, write to us. We will
feature you in “Words to Live By.”
If you have a question, write to
us. We will write you back and
may publish an article on your
question in Prison Health News.
If you want to write an article
on something you think is
important for prisoners’ health,
send it and we will consider
publishing it in Prison Health News.
You can also write us first to
discuss ideas for articles.

Wrong?

-By Valerie Collett

The stare in your eyes,
The look like you have something to hide.
Went up the stairs
Could not bare the sight before my face,
She tried to keep it a secret and
Not leave a trace.
Combivir, Crixivan, Sustiva, AZT.
Could it be! Could it be!
My mother has HIV!!!!
So worried about what I would think,
To protect me she kept it hidden.
Felt like it was no longer worth living.
Wasn’t sure if I would panic or remain calm.
But one thing that will never change,
You will always be my mom. ™

The Way to a
Happy New Year

If you want your name kept
-By Dennis King
confidential, you can sign your article
with your first name or “anonymous.” To leave the old with a burst of song
To recall the right and forgive the wrong
In coming issues, we will cover:
To forget the things that bind you fast
* Nutrition,
The main regrets of the year that's past
* Exercise,
To have the strength to let go your hold
* Getting Support While You Are
Of the net worth while of the days grown old
Incarcerated,
* How to Advocate for Yourself,
To dare go forth with a purpose true
* HIV Treatments,
To the unknown task of the year that's new
* Hepatitis C Treatments,
To help your sister or brother along the road
* Treatment strategies for HIV
To do her or his work and lift the load
and hepatitis C Co-infection,
To add your gift to the world's good cheer
* Depression,
Is to have and give a Happy New Year! ™
* Getting Out,
Dennis King #047576
* Staying Clean When You Get
C3-108
Out,
Everglades Corr. Inst.
* Welfare, Food Stamps, and
PO Box 94-9000
Miami, FL 33194-9000
Medical Assistance,
* Housing,
and much more!
page 2

Hand by Daryl Young,

Books Through Bars, Contexts Collection

Sleep, It Is Your Health
-By J.D. Enquist

Sleep Basics
Sleep is interwoven with every facet of daily life. It
affects our health and well being, our moods and
behavior, our energy and emotions—our very sanity
and happiness. If our sleep in limited, our health and
daytime potential is significantly reduced if not
destroyed.
Sleep Loss
Sleep loss accumulates; a person with a big sleep
debt is slower to recover from stress and is much
more vulnerable to infections and other illnesses.
Countless studies have shown that even a modest
sleep reduces the body’s immune responses; also, it is
important to avoid sleep that is fragmented with
awakenings.
Sleep In Prison
For those of us in prison, even more so for those as I
am who are in total lock-up, sleep can be especially
difficult. The 24-7 lights, constant banging of metal
doors, screaming and more. Good sleep hygiene is
difficult, but not impossible, to obtain.
To help achieve your much needed sleep, every
morning turn on the bright light (dim light never goes
off) and roll up your mattress and leave them that way
until your scheduled bedtime. Then not less than a
hour before laying down to sleep do not engage in
any muscle activity, intense thinking (including mail),
or other stimuli that activates your arousal system—in
turn, keeps you awake. Best of all, at this point when
you finally roll back out your mattress and turn off the
bright light, the body acts on this cue and knows it is
time for sleep.
More Information
There is no short supply of material verifying the
above, including by writing to: National Center on
Sleep Disorders Research, Two Rockledge Center,
6701 Rockledge Drive, MSC 7920, Bethesda,
MD 20892-7920. ™
J.D. Enquist 629515
WA Corrections Center
P.O. Box 900 IMU
Shelton, WA 98584-0974

Artwork by Scott Servis,

Books Through Bars, Contexts Collection

page 3

Hepatitis C Educational Programs in
by Michael Ninburg
Hepatitis C in Prison
Hepatitis C is currently the most common health problem affecting men and
women in prison in the U.S. It is estimated that 1 out of every 3 prisoners
has hepatitis C, and in some prisons
more than half the people are infected.
The Hepatitis Education Project (HEP)
takes great pride in being part of solution to this problem. HEP is a non-profit organization based in Seattle,
Washington, dedicated to helping those
affected by hepatitis. Working closely
with the Washington State Department
of Corrections (DOC), HEP helped to
develop a hepatitis C treatment and education protocol for Washington prisons.
Protocol in Washington State
In 2003, the Washington State DOC
brought together a committee to revise
its hepatitis C protocol to screen and
treat individuals for hepatitis C. The
result was a much more inclusive
approach that allows more people in
prison to qualify for treatment. The new
protocol also assures that all prisoners
are educated about the risks and outcomes of hepatitis C. This education is
a major unifying thread, integrated into
all parts of the protocol.
Information Needs
Everyone entering the DOC takes part
in hepatitis C educational programs—
from one-on-one conversations to group
presentations to support groups to
videos. Health care providers, non-DOC
health educators and the prisoners themselves act as resources to better educate
the population about modes of disease
transmission, methods of prevention
(including risk reduction
page 4

and immunization), disease outcomes
and options for treatment.
Education at All Stages
We are now well into our second year
of this program, incorporating educational components at all stages of incarceration from intake to release. Here is
an outline of the protocol:
Intake Screening. Individuals will
view a short informational video about
hepatitis C and should be provided with
appropriate handout(s).
Health Care Providers. Will deliver
messages aimed at hepatitis C transmission, progression and prevention at each
medical visit during treatment.
Non-DOC Patient Advocate Groups.
Should hold group support and didactic
classes at each treating facility at least
semi-annually. The Hepatitis Education
Project is currently fulfilling this role.
Peer Education. Each facility should
establish support groups for prisoners.
Peer educators will be trained by DOC
and volunteer non-DOC personnel to be
advocates for these support groups. The
DOC will provide organizational
(approval to meet, a place and time to
meet) and technical support (DOC
approved content, means for group to
have questions answered). Participation
will determine success.
Television. The DOC cable network
(alternately utilizing existing closed circuit TV equipment at some institutions)
should air the proscribed informational
video monthly.
Review of Materials. The Hepatitis C
Protocol Review Committee will be
responsible for viewing and approving
the content of these programs.

Washington State Prisons
While some of the educational components have been implemented better
than others, the important part is that the
DOC is moving forward with these recommendations. We think that these
components and the treatment protocol
as a whole can serve as a model to be
replicated around the country.
Support When Coming Home
An extension of education while incarcerated is continuity with community
resources at release. This essential discharge planning begins when someone
is identified as being at risk for HCV
infection. Messages about transmission
modes, risk reduction and harm reduction are emphasized at each interaction
and again before the person is released.
A community support group list as well
as linkages to community and public
health facilities are offered at release.
So Far…
Our experience so far has been very
positive. HEP began offering blood
borne infections education last summer
at each of sixteen Washington State prisons and work camps. To date we have
visited more than half of the state correctional facilities and our program has

Hands by Daryl Young, Books Through Bars, Contexts Collection

been enthusiastically received by both
prisoners and staff.
Our Sessions
Here is what our sessions cover:
HCV, HIV, HBV. What are they?
Transmission/Prevention, Outcomes
Hepatitis C in prison.
Epidemiology/Rates, Transmission
Hepatitis C the illness. Symptoms,
Progression, Transmission
Hepatitis C treatment. Indications,
Side Effects, Outcomes
Family and social issues.
Resources upon release.
Spread the Word!
We are excited that the Washington
State DOC has taken great strides in
addressing the hepatitis C in prison
health care crisis, and we would love to
see this treatment and education protocol replicated in other DOCs. Please
contact us with any questions about our
program or hepatitis C in general. We
are happy to share any of the materials
we have developed.
Hepatitis Education Project
4603 Aurora Avenue. N.
Seattle, WA 98103
http://www.hepeducation.org ™

page 5

Outside Looking In
By Martell Randolph
Undercover
Recently Oprah Winfrey did a show
where three ordinary women spent a
week in prison undercover, assuming
the identities of newly sentenced prisoners. Cameras followed the women
through the processing phase, which
included a strip search as well as a
check for hair and body lice.
Next, the cameras followed the women
as they were given uniforms and cell
assignments. The 2x4 windowless cells
had only a commode sticking out of a
far wall and a cot. In the background
you could hear women’s voices calling
out, calling to one another, all sharing
the same fate.
The Response
It was an intimate look at the lives of
female prisoners inside a maximumsecurity prison. One of the women
shared, "I felt like some kind of animal.
It was degrading and dehumanizing."
Another women talked about the
process of getting her prison number

page 6

and uniform. "I was ashamed," she
said, her voice trembling.
The Big Picture
As I sat there watching this, I thought
about what to make of this in the larger
context, and what effect does it have on
our society.
The incarceration rate among women
in the U.S is astounding--surpassing that
of men every year since the early 90s.
There are more women in prison than
ever before-women of all colors and
nationalities, young and old, Black,
white, Latino, Asian.
Most of these women are doing time
for drugs or drug related crimes, some
due to effects of years of oppression and
abuse. Few states have budgets that
favor contributing to social programs
that help to keep women out of prison.
Instead, states invest more and more
money in building prisons.
Children
For a mother serving time, the most
anguishing aspect of incarceration is

Visitation by Sherry Ann Vincent, Books Through Bars, Contexts Collection

the separation from her children. Her worries about their welfare are magnified while
in prison, because children of incarcerated
mothers often become wards of the state.
Her children may be bounced from home to
home, losing stability, support and guidance.
This difficulty is rarely eased when mothers
come home. Once these women are
released, the process of reuniting with their
children is an uphill battle. Women have to
meet conditions that are nearly impossible
for anyone just coming home. Moreover,
these conditions may directly conflict with
restrictions at their halfway houses, making
it impossible for them to get their children
back while remaining compliant with the
terms of their release.
Coming Home
Anyone who has been incarcerated knows
how many difficult challenges lay ahead
once you come home. Programs that offer
assistance and help with reintegration are
few and far in between, and even fewer offer
support around the specific challenges
women face.
Like all people coming home, women need
help with housing and employment, but
women must also deal with the cycles of
physical abuse and drug use if they are to
make the changes they want to see in their
lives. For most, all of these issues contributed to their incarceration. Without support, many women will end back up in the
correctional system they just left.
Time for a Change
As a society, we are judged not by our
words, but by the actions that follow. The
prison system is in dire need of change.
Without change, we can expect nothing less
than the increases we are witnessing today.
We must begin the dialogue. ™

information
resources for
people in prison
If you need information while
you are locked up, contact:
Project Inform

Outreach and Education Department
205 13th Street, Suite 2001
San Francisco, CA 94103-2461
information & newsletters on HIV
*free to prisoners

Fortune News

Subscriptions
c/o The Fortune Society
53 West 23rd Street
New York, NY 10010

newsletter on criminal justice issues
*free to prisoners

National HCV Prison Coalition
Hepatitis C Awareness Project
PO Box 41803
Eugene, OR 97404

newsletter & information on hepatitis C
*free to prisoners

Prison Legal News

2400 NW 80th St. #148
Seattle,WA 98117

newsletter on prisoner rights&court rulings
*sample issue $1. unused stamps OK.

Southern Poverty Law Center
PO Box 548
Montgomery, AL 36101

Publish “Protecting Your Health and Safety:
A Litigation Guide for Inmates”
*$10 for inmates.

The Books 4 Prisoners Crew
P.O. Box 19065
Cincinnati, OH 45219

Publishes “Inside Out” a prisoner resource
guide with over 600 listings for prisoner
support groups and a review of services
provided by each one.
*$6 for free world folk. Prisoners who
would like a copy should send one of the
following--$0.60 in unused stamps, a
$0.60 prisoner money order made out
to “Books For Prisoners,” or 2 clean
embossed envelopes.

page 7

advocacy and support
resources for people in prison
If you need help while you are locked up, or when you get out,
contact:
In Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia FIGHT
1233 Locust Street, 5th Floor
Philadelphia PA 19107
(215) 985-4448--no collect calls
Contact: Laura McTighe

In Miami, FL
Care Resource, Miami
225 N.E. 34th Street
Miami, FL 33137
(305) 573-5411--no collect calls
Contact: Pedro Torres

In New York City, NY
Women Prison Association
& Home Inc.
175 Remsen Street, 9th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 797-0300--for collect calls from
inside New York Jails/Prisons
(718) 637-6818--no collect calls
Contact: Leah Bundy

In San Francisco, CA
Continuum Springboard
225 Golden Gate Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 823-0414--no collect calls
(415) 823-0415--no collect calls
Contact: Helen Lin or Charlie Wilson

In New Brunswick, NJ
Project Connect
PO Box 824
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
999-999-9999--for free calls from
inside New Jersey State Prisons
1-800-433-0254--toll free in NJ
Contact: Nadia Matar

In Houston,TX
Houston Montrose Clinic
215 Westheimer
Houston,TX 77006
(713) 830-3000--no collect calls
Contact: Chris Jimmerson
Every organization on this list provides case
management, medical care and support services
for people when they get out of prison. Most of
these organizations specialize in HIV care. Every
organization distributes Prison Health News.

If you need resources in a city not listed here, write to us!
We will help you track down answers to your specific questions.
Write to us if you know a great organization that is missing from this list.

prison
health
news
page 8

Edited By:
Laura McTighe
John S. James
Tiffany Smith
John Bell
Waheedah
Shabazz-El
Patricia Green
Brian Lafferty
We are grateful for
financial support from
Boehringer Ingelheim
and Orthobiotech

subscribe!

If you would like to have Prison Health
News mailed to you, write to:

Prison Health News
c/o Philadelphia FIGHT
1233 Locust Street,
5th Floor
Philadelphia PA 19107
All subscriptions are free, and are mailed
First Class.

 

 

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